- Museum number
Ruggiero rescuing Angelica. River landscape with Angelica lying naked before a dragon in lower left corner, Ruggiero flying through the sky on a griffin and holding aloft a sword, various buildings and a ruin in background; after Titian. 1565
- Production date
Height: 312 millimetres
Width: 405 millimetres
- Curator's comments
(Text from Michael Bury, 'The Print in Italy 1550-1620', BM, London 2001, no. 54.)
This engraving was one of six that Cort produced for Titian in the years 1565-66. Titian seems to have chosen carefully the subject matter and types of composition for this group, in order to achieve variety: religious and secular subjects, landscapes, single figures and complex narratives. The others were the Magdalene (New Hollstein 132), St Jerome Reading in the Desert (New Hollstein 120), Adoration of the Trinity (New Hollstein 82), Diana and Callisto (New Hollstein 189) and Tityus (New Hollstein 190). In each case there is an early state with the name of Titian but without the name of Cort; the engraver's name is added only in later states of each of them. This suggests that in the first instance Cort was seen merely as an executive instrument of Titian's publishing intentions; only subsequently was his reputation established to the point that his role was acknowledged.
Bierens de Haan argued that the Ruggiero and Angelica must have been one of the first pieces engraved by Cort for Titian, and this conclusion is clearly justified by the flattening effect which results from his having given equal weight to the multiplicity of different elements in the composition.
The print is closely related to a drawing in Bayonne (Wethey, 1987, pp.50-52 and catalogue no. 42, pp.158-59). The drawing is remarkable for the freedom with which Titian treated Ariosto's poetic text from which the subject derives: Angelica is not chained to the rock at the sea's edge, nor does the monster emerge from the sea. It is not so much an illustration of Ariosto's poem as an example of a visual poesia. Titian in other words was using Ariosto in the same way that he used Ovid when he treated the subject of Venus and Adonis in painting, he created an inventive variation on the story rather than a straightforward visualization of a text.
There are differences between the print and the drawing, however, which make it unlikely that the drawing was itself the model given to the engraver (Sellink, 1994, pp.206-210, no.70, argued the opposite case). In particular there are elements in the print that are not in the drawing, notably the extension of the landscape on the right and the addition of the smoking vase behind the reclining Angelica. While it might be possible to imagine that Cort extended the landscape (Tietze thought the drawing had been cut at the left, see 1944, no.1872, p.312), it does not seem credible that he would have added an important iconographic element such as the smoking vase. Wethey (1987, p.51) thought the smoking vase might be an allusion to chastity. The implication is that there was once a drawing by Titian or one of his assistants, now lost, from which Cort worked.
This is first state before address of Cort, for second state see X,1.98.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2001/2 Sep-Jan, BM, P&D, The Print in Italy 1550-1620
2002 Feb-Mar, New York, Miriam & Ira D Wallach AG, The Print in Italy
2002/3 Sep-Jan, Ottawa, NG of Canada, The Print in Italy 1550-1620
2003 Feb-Apr, Edinburgh, NG of Scotland, The Print in Italy 1550-1620
- Associated titles
Associated Title: Orlando Furioso (poem by Ludovico Ariosto)
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number